Taiwan’s KKday, a startup in the increasingly competitive travel activities space, has pulled in an undisclosed funding round that adds two strategic investors to its business: Chinese e-commerce firm Alibaba and Japanese chat app company Line.
KKday was founded in 2015 to help people who travel overseas find and book activities, ranging from tours to tourist attractions, transportation, museums and more. The company said it offers more than 20,000 “unique experiences” in over 500 cities across 80 countries. There is much potential to move into, it seems, with analyst firm Phocuswright predicting that the travel tour and activities market will grow by one-third to reach $183 billion by 2020.
Unlike Hong Kong-based regional rival Klook, which is valued at over $1 billion and has ventured into Europe and the U.S., KKday is focused on Asian markets only.
We last wrote about the startup in January when it raised a $10.5 million round led by Japanese travel operator H.I.S., and this new Series B funding round is led by Alibaba’s Taiwan-based entrepreneur fund and Line Ventures, the VC arm connected to Japan’s leading chat app.
KKday CEO Ming Chen told TechCrunch in an interview that the two will help KKday with its efforts in China and Japan. Alibaba initially made an investment in July; this new deal represents a follow-up and it’ll see more emphasis placed on KKday’s branded store on Alibaba’s Fliggy travel store in China. Interestingly, Alibaba’s fund has also invested in another Taiwan-based activities service, FunNow.
Similarly, KKday will double down on Japan, where Chen said the company has seen “huge growth” thanks in large part to its relationship with H.I.S. — a 38-year-old firm that has offices in 150 cities and $5.5 billion in annual sales. Chen, who thinks KKday may be Japan’s largest travel activities booking platform already, said Line will introduce a dedicated “Travel” account that ties into the KKday service to allow Line users to book activities and share details with friends without leaving the messaging app.
Chen and KKday CMO Yuki Huang explained that the company is always open to strategic investments where it believes it can find business value.
“We’re very focused on looking for strategic investors not just money,” Huang said.
Others in the round announced today include existing investors CDIB Capital from Hong Kong and Monk’s Hill Ventures in Southeast Asia. That, added to Alibaba in China/Taiwan and H.I.S. and Line in Japan, gives KKday a balanced investor base to help its business in those regions, Huang added.
KKday’s main rival is Klook and a Taiwanese competitor is FunDay, but a plethora of companies have sprouted to offer similar services in other parts of the world. Those include Peek in the U.S, Culture Trip, GetYourGuide, Headout and WithLocals. Still, KKday is sticking to its Asia focus for now, according to Chen and Huang.